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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction

What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?

In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: There's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power - they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.

From award-winning author Naomi Alderman, The Power is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways.

©2017 Naomi Alderman (P)2017 Hachette Audio

What members say

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  • Kelli
  • Birmingham, AL, United States
  • 11-13-17

Amazing Audio Performance

Super weird science fiction set in the near future that seemed oh so real to me. Some parts bordered on horror and language was edgy so this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was a very satisfying read at this moment in history. What woman would not want the power to shock the daylights out of someone (read: a man) with just her thoughts! Kudos to Naomi Alderman for her creative twists and turns and for making me see the world we live in now from a new angle. Would love to discuss this one with a friend over coffee or a glass of wine. Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant idea, executed pretty darn well.

I've been waiting for this book for some time. The premise sounded fascinating. For the most part, it didn't disappoint; certainly, it gave me a lot to think about. The multiple narrators were probably necessary (think Winds of War), but didn't allow us to really get invested in them, maybe with the exception of Roxy (but that might be partly the result of Andoh's brilliant rendering of her particular voice). Speaking of the reader, Andoh absolutely nails the multiple British and Nigerian speakers, but her American voices are as usual more caricature than character: either excessively nasal or excessively Southern, both with occasional lapses into British ("been") pronunciation and sounding just kind of simple. Her Eastern European accent is almost comically Dracula-like (yeah, I know, Romanian, but still). But if there's anyone to really root for-- and sometimes we need that --, it's Roxy.

Is it a feminist book? Maybe? I mean, yes, it makes you think about what we expect of women and men, respectively. I was watching a football game today and wondered how guys would feel if men in tiny tight outfits were dancing around athletically on the sidelines. But it's mostly a book about what happens when one gender (country/class/group) has more power than the other: some people can handle it with something like fairness, some are transformed into monsters. Alderman explores this idea with intelligence and curiosity rather than a glaring agenda (thinking of the self-justifications Mayor Cleary becomes adept at employing). Alderman also incorporates social media and conspiracy communities into the story well, acknowledging the impossibility of controlling a government or movement or religion once the ball gets rolling. But the book feels a little uneven, possibly rushed in the second half especially: the timeline of events is a little over-constructed, and the new (5000 years after the Cataclysm) society is awfully and maybe implausibly similar to our own. Maybe it should have been a trilogy or something, Oryx-and-Crake style.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Faulty Premise

It was (or could have been) a good story, but what it devolved to was channeling the worst fears of the whiny MRA set, who believe that women, if empowered, will turn around and do to them what they've been doing to us for all of recorded history. I don't buy it. Some women would be jerks if they had physical power over men, and there would be some retaliation in play, but not to the degree it has been happening to us all these centuries. Honestly, women roaming around in packs, gang-raping men? Nah. It isn't just a case of they'd do it "because they can" as the author assumes. There are examples of women in power who are tyrants and there are examples of women in power who are not - mostly, they are not. Women, when empowered, make excellent and fair executives, bosses, and professionals. Empowered women actually create the best societies. The author believes that women, empowered, would simply devolve into packs of wolves. I don't buy it. That said, the story and characters were interesting and the reading was well-done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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My first review in 4 years!

I loved this book! The narration was perfectly done, along with an amazing story that will have me thinking for weeks to come.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A necessary read

This book is phenomenal.

At times, it addresses social issues as tongue in cheek. In other instances, the commentary is presented in as all too real and difficult to swallow.

I do not want to give anything away, but this novel really makes you think about our current social climate, politics, "human nature," power dynamics, and the like.

If you enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale, 1984, or any other sci-fi novel focused more on social commentary, then this is the book for you.

On top of that, Adjoa Andoh's narration is wonderful. Her accents are great, her character voices varied, and her delivery is exceptional. She creates suspense through pregnant pauses (pauses that are not as grammatically clear in the printed copy of the book) and appropriately quickened sentences. That description may seem generic, but I struggle to find narrators who truly pay attention to the story and deliver with appropriate conviction.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Thought provoking concepts poorly executed

With all of the accusations against powerful men coming to light in the recent weeks/months there couldn’t be a better time for a book like ‘The Power’ to be released. This book asks audiences to imagine a world where women have the ability to flip the power dynamic. What would happen in that world? How would it change society as a whole? Now is a perfect time for these questions and having men in particular see how many of the tropes used to define women/feminity are a complete construct of the power inherent in a patriarchal society.

As these questions are raised and dealt with in ‘The Power’ they end up being more thought provoking than the narrative that accompanies them. I really wanted to like this book, and the POV characters chosen by Alderman were brilliant (a cult/religious leader, a senator, a journalist on the frontlines etc). These characters should have been able to capture in a comprehensive way the effects of the power on the world/society. However, I felt each character arch was lacking in the rich detail needed to fully engross the reader and bring to life this new world. This lack of detail ends up leaving the reader with a general sense of watching all of the events unfold from far above instead of being immersed in them.

With a ten year timeline leading up to ‘something’ (don’t want to spoil anything) there was more than enough space to cover the events leading up it and how the power changed society. Yet, most of the time these changes were told not shown: “Now they will know that they are the ones who should not walk out of their houses along at night” or “boys dressing as girls to seem more powerful. Girls dressing as boys…to leap on the unsuspecting”. These are two examples of where it would have been far richer to experience this fear through the eyes of the characters than to be told about it. There is one male character who experiences a rape in a bar, but it’s told later on and this removes the poignancy of how this act has changed how this character sees the world. Due to the lack of a fully realized world the character development suffers leaving most of the characters flat.

Alderman did include technology well into the story, adding emails, texts, online conspiracy forums, but because these elements were not incorporated in a fully realized world, they left me feeling that they were nice touches that lacked the depth to enhance the narrative context. Really this book either needed to be much longer to explore the many facets of this newly created world and all of the characters that it brings up or needed to go more micro and focus on say two characters and really dig into their narrative perspectives.

In the end I am left thinking more about the questions this books raises then thinking of anything that happened in it or any of its characters.

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As for the narrator, I was less than thrilled with her accent choices and the producer of this audio book needed to work on the levels. There is quite a bit of yelling in this performance and often I had to adjust the volume as it would be too loud in my headphones. In general, I am not a fan of narrators who choose to yell frequently in there recordings as it dampens the effectiveness of its use. Overall I would prefer not to listen to this narrator again if I had a choice.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Stellar narration

This was a four star book for me, but its narration bumped it up half a star. The narration is incredible. The narrator was quite emotive, at times literally screaming into the microphone. I don't always like this, but damn did it work here. I also loved her varied speed. In tense moments, she would dramatically pick up the pace, creating a feeling of panic.

Moving to the book itself now, I can say that at times when I was reading this I found myself feeling wary around women. That a book can engender such feelings of paranoia really speaks to its strength. I would definitely recommend this.

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A real cracker jack

I loved this book. The hype is justified. The world building is fascinating and long after it ended I kept thinking how life would flip if the book was suddenly true. This was my first introduction to Alderman's novels (loved her work on zombies run!) and I'm going to check out her other work. This book has really come out at the perfect time and I hope it becomes a black swan success. Those with power should pause and think more consciously about how it is used, and whether it is deserved. This is a moral tale packaged so well, it never felt like a moral tale. It felt written for the love of the characters, not to push an agenda. Check it out. Its an excellent book.

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The best book I’ve listened to in ages!

Alderman’s story is brilliantly crafted. The metaphors reflect so many of the current issues of power in the world. It’s such a great story. I can’t recommend The Power enough.

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loved it could not put it down

listen all the way through . The story was intriguing from the beginning to the end